South West Coast Panoramas

I found it difficult to capture the scenery in Weymouth with a normal photo frame, so I started trying to take more panoramas. They’ll probably publish pretty small on the blog, but you should be able to click on them to enlarge if anything catches your eye.

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Weymouth and the Jurassic Coast

We knew that after our city adventures we we would want to see a different side of England, and since we’re moving to a landlocked desert in a couple weeks the coast seemed like a great idea. We are very glad we did. Weymouth is off the beaten track for most international tourists, but the pictures we saw online and the strong recommendation of an English co-worker convinced us to take the 3 hour train ride south east to see the “Jurassic Coast.” It gets the Jurassic name from the fossils that have been found along it’s clay and stone cliffs and pebbly beaches.

The weather was perfect. A little rain and a fair bit of wind, but that’s to be expected on the south coast. On the first day we got fish and chips with mushy peas and then and sat down by the beach to let E sleep and me (M) swim. We also had a picnic dinner where E loved chasing the birds.

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On Sunday we went to friendly LDS branch for church and them did some very nice Sunday walks and got caught in a small rain storm but ended up getting a rainbow out of the deal.

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Today we headed out to Lulworth cove and the Durdle door to do a hike. It took some careful bus transfer coordination and an early start, but somehow we made it out there and back safely. And it was worth the trip. The views were incredible.

I don’t know if I’ve ever done a hike that had such amazing views the entire time. We just hiked up and down the ridges taking in the scenery as much as we could while we hiked as fast as we could to catch our bus connection seven miles (surprisingly they use miles not km here) away. It was steep! Eliza slept for at least half of the trip.

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We’re on the train back to London now (edit: I wrote this on the train but due to bad mobile signals and a little shinanigan at the train station in London I’m posting it at the hotel) and we catch our plane to Calgary tomorrow morning. It’s been a very worthwhile holiday, and E has been very, very good for us. Actually she’s been in heaven for the past five days, with kids to play with at both of our hosts’ homes and strawberries, seashells, and pebbles to collect while chasing dogs and birds. She’s more of a nature girl than a city girl, it seems. Here’s us on the train(s) heading to our hotel near Gatwick Airport, with an unexpected dinner stopover to say goodbye to London.

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Strawberries and Mission Reunions

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E had her real birthday party yesterday. After we travelled through her actual birthday, we had a really nice day with one of my old mission companions and his very fun little family. Jamie and I spent three months of our lives together 24-7 as missionaries in Utah, so it was very cool to be reunited in England more than 7 years since we returned home–me to Canada and Jamie to Scotland. Now he and his lovely wife and three little boys live in Basingstoke, just outside of London. It was a bit weird being together again, since we’ve both changed in many ways but seem to have stayed exactly the same in many more. Theresa has better family photos on her computer that we’ll post after we get home.

Eliza was in heaven with two big brothers to chase and tumble with, and she went absolutely crazy when we went to a U-pick strawberry field. She couldn’t figure of how to pick them off the bush herself, but that’s probably because it was just too easy to pick them out of mom’s basket! Earlier that day we visited a nice park and neighborhood in an older part of town with some beautiful thatched roof homes and country farms, woods, and streams. We arrived in Weymouth, final holiday destination of our trip, this afternoon. I’ll blog about that later, but I’ll say that I did get to swim at the beach today, despite the water being a fair bit cooler than the mild and windy 18 degrees (somewhere around 65 F, I think) that it was outside! Very refreshing.

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Happy First Birthday!

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Well, little E is one year old today. It’s been a very fast/slow/short/long year for us! A lot has happened, with some touch and some amazing times, so I guess it shouldn’t be too unexpected that we celebrated her first birthday so far from home.

We didn’t do anything too special for her big day, though. Saw some last sights in London before we headed to Basingstoke to spend a little time with an old mission companion and his family. But we did let E crawl and climb around for a longer than normal lunch break by the Thames at the Royal Naval Academy in Greenwich, which meant that we didn’t have time to see the Greenwich meridian marker and observatory! So I guess that counts as a gift :) She also got to eat Ethiopian and Pakistani food today, which she really liked. And eat some fresh strawberries and play with her friend, Alice, who is 13 months old and let us rent a bedroom in her parents flat for the week we stayed in London. Here are a few photos from her one year birthday.

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My Kingdom for a Toilet!

Well, since we’re already so many days behind on our London trip posts I can’t catch up this late at night. So I’ll just add a couple highlights from today.

We tried to do all the free things here (and there’s no way to do them all, really), but we decide to splurge on 2-for-1 passes to the Tower of London today. It was worth it though, even for penny pinchers like us. Almost 1000 years of history in one castle in the middle of central London. Very impressive. We stayed until we were too tired and hungry to hold our really late lunch off any longer. Today we also listened to an incredible choir sing at a special Canada Day evensong service at Westminster abbey. It was beautiful. We also went on a spur-of-the-moment trip to a once per month candle-lit museum night in a 19th Century custom-built mansion. We stood in line for close to 40 minutes and almost left without going through. This was actually where the blog title comes from… We spent a very long time looking for toilets this afternoon. We ran out of change and couldn’t find any free facilities anywhere. So we googled which museums we’re open late (museums usually have free and clean toilets) and found this little gem. But the long queue forced us to take turns running across the street to various American fast food joints to use their loos.

The museum was a totally different museum experience from anything else we saw here, with floor to ceiling relics, paintings, and architectural drawings stacked so closely together I was afraid I would knock them over walking past. A very intimate museum compared to those we went to earlier on our trip. For those planning a trip to London, see if you can squeeze in a first Tuesday evening at Sir John Soane’s Museum.

Anyway, here are E’s favorite parts of the day. Except that I don’t have any photos of her making friends on the Tube, which she does so quickly and with anyone we sit or stand next to. I’m not sure in what order these pics will come out, but here’s E talking to the famous Tower ravens, hanging out by the Thames, testing out a big fancy playground, and eating by Regent’s Canal (actually the last two events were yesterday).

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Streets and Gardens

Yesterday was a bit of a drag due to our long flight, lack of sleep, and jet lag. But we went to bed early, woke up late, and had a really nice first full day in London today.

Since we didn’t know what to do, we just started out with the most obvious attraction we could think of: Buckingham Palace. Here’s T and sleeping E just inside the Canada Gate, one of four big gates that lead onto the circle that surrounds the palace. There’s one shot of the palace itself as well. T took photos of me on her camera today, but since I’m posting you’re lucky that you only get my pics, which means mostly just T and E.

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Next we walked around a bit and ended up seeing some nice spots.

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We also spent a lot of time in London’s parks and gardens. We had lunch in Green Park, where E enjoyed chasing the pigeons. We wandered through St James Park and Kensington Gardens and just the edge of Hyde Park. Found a great playground (Princess Diana Memorial Playground, complete with a huge pirate ship for the bigger kids) and actually visited some nice quiet areas in the middle of such a huge city.

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En Route

While we’re waiting to take off, we figured that we might as well post something quick. Hopefully we can post regularly while we tour around England, but we will just see how that goes. Here are a few photos of our little family on the way to the airport and waiting to take off. Yes, Eliza is indeed decked out in the colours of the Union Jack. See you in London!

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